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European Year of Skills

The pathway from an unskilled job seeker to completing an apprenticeship as a plumber

Mr Ruiz faced issues to find a job as unskilled worker. Thanks to the regional job centre (RAV), the unemployment insurance fund, the vocational information centre (BIZ) and the VET office, he completed an apprenticeship and became a plumber  

A man giving a presentation to people.

Gaining new skills as an opportunity to change his life  

Before moving to Switzerland, Mr Ruiz was a full-time musician. Faced with significant challenges to find employment in his original profession, he started looking for construction, cook’s assistant or cleaning jobs – unfortunately, without success.  

But things changed once Mr Ruiz sought help and contacted an employer adviser. In collaboration with various organisations, the adviser planned for Mr Ruiz to start an in-company EFZ apprenticeship – with great success. He enrolled in a training programme that enabled him to obtain a state-recognised Swiss Federal Proficiency Certificate (EFZ). To support him throughout the training, Mr Ruiz also received a salary paid jointly by the employer and the Swiss unemployment insurance fund. 

Pursuing a successful professional development 

The “AZ” training programme, which Mr Ruiz did at the regional job centre of the Canton of Bern was targeted for individuals whose qualifications were not recognised in Switzerland. In two years, Mr Ruiz obtained the level B1 in German, and he is currently on the way of achieving the B2 level. At the same time, he signed up at the vocational information centre (BIZ) to receive support in choosing his career path. Today, he successfully completed his apprenticeship as a plumber, gaining an EFZ qualification. He is performing a skilled job, and he is thus easily able to defray his living costs with a job he finds challenging and fulfilling.   

*Mr Ruiz is invented name because the job seeker wanted to stay anonymous. The article has been provided by EURES Switzerland.